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Modern Love Podcast: Catfished and Trapped in a Romance Scam

Last spring, Michael McAllister’s inbox started filling up with messages from heartbroken women. “I thought you were the man,” one wrote. “Embarrassing, but I kinda became obsessed with ‘you,’” another said.

Michael discovered that his photos were being used to catfish women on dating apps — from Germany to Brazil to Chicago. So what did he do? He confronted his impostor via WhatsApp.

Today’s story explores a global dating scam (that’s still going on, by the way) and the pandemic-fueled loneliness of digital life. Also, we hear from two women who were duped by Michael’s impostor. One of them shares a trick for determining whether or not a dating prospect is real.

Hosted by: Daniel Jones and Miya Lee
Produced by: Julia Botero, Anna Martin and Hans Buetow
Edited by: Wendy Dorr and Daniel Guillemette
Executive Producer: Wendy Dorr
Music by: Dan Powell
Mixed by: Corey Schreppel
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Special thanks: Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Bonnie Wertheim, Anya Strzemien, Joanna Nikas, Choire Sicha, Lisa Tobin, Sam Dolnick and Ryan Wegner at Audm. The guests featured at the end of the episode were Robin Lipka and Michelle Merkes.

Thoughts? Email us at modernlovepodcast@nytimes.com.

Want more from Modern Love? Read past stories. Watch the TV series and sign up for the newsletter. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

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